Friday, May 8, 2009

Installing Windows 7 on ASUS-P6T with IHC10R RAID Array

I recently purchased a new computer, and I decided to go with the following components:

Motherboard: ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX

CPU: INTEL Core i7 920 2.66G quad core with Hyper Threading (4 cores, 8 threads)

RAM: 3x2GB DDR3 1600

Hard Drive: 2x250GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250310AS setup as RAID 1 Mirror

Video Card: MSI N9400GT-MD512H 9400GT RTL with passive cooling design

Case: APEVIA X-ALIEN MX-ALIEN-BK Black Steel ATX Full Tower

The build went fine, but I got stuck trying to install Windows 7 64Bit RC, as I could not get it to load the drivers for either the JMicron JMB363 or Intel ICH10R SATA controllers. The SATA Port 0 and 1 are controlled by the JMicron JMB363 controller, which can be setup as a special Speed or Backup mode using Intel Drive Xpert technology. I couldn't find any information about what these actually were (I assume Raid 0 and Raid 1, but not sure), so I decided to try and setup the drives on the ICH10R controller as a standard RAID 1 array instead. After updating the bios using the built in ASUS EZ Flash 2 feature (very cool!), I setup the ICH10R controller in RAID mode in the BIOS, disabled the quick boot and the Floppy drive (was causing Windows 7 setup to be incredibly slow trying to loading drivers from a floppy drive that didn't exist), and pressed CTRL+i to setup the drives in mirror mode.

Windows 7 setup still couldn't detect any of the drives. The motherboard came with a driver disk, but I couldn't get any of the SATA drivers for Intel or JMicron on it to work. Even after breaking the raid and installing one drive on each controller, and changing from RAID to AHCI, it still couldn't find them. I tried downloading 3 different versions of the ICH10R driver, even the ones that said they were Windows 7 compatible. I final found a driver that worked for the JMicron controller on the motherboard driver disk tucked away in an install directory in an AMD64 directory. This wasn't what I wanted, but at least I was able to get Windows installed. It took a long time and I thought that it stalled on the "Completing Installation" section, but after an hour or so it changed to a message saying that the installation will continue after rebooting (which I force to reboot after 10 minutes of waiting). Looks like they still haven't fixed any of the useless notifications during windows 7 installation.

After Windows loaded up, I downloaded and installed the latest drivers and ran Windows update, which updated the drivers again. A few reboots, and everything looks great, although it still is running off of the JMicron controller and is not in RAID 1 like I wanted. I switched the drives over to the ICH10R controller, but then it wouldn't load into windows. I was about to cry, but then I noticed that there were two drives listed in the boot sequence, and one of them was still a blank drive. I switched the order of the drives so that the one with Windows was on the lowest SATA port, and then after rebooting it loaded into Windows again (crisis adverted!). Now the drives were on the correct controller, which was still setup in RAID mode in the bios. Unfortunately you can't create a RAID array in the boot loader from an existing disk without loosing all of the data, but by downloading and installing the Intel Matrix Storage Console I was able to convert an existing disk to a RAID 1 array. The process failed the first time, but I rebooted, tried again, and after 2 hours (SATA 3.0GB/sec my ass....) I had everything working just how I wanted.

A bit of a pain, but at least I got it to work. It might be that there is a special driver for the ICH10R SATA RAID mode that is hidden somewhere, but I couldn't find anything that worked. Best bet if you are installing Windows 7 64-bit on ASUS-P6T is to connect a drive to Port 0 or 1 and load the JMicron drivers from the install/AMD64 directory. You can then move over to the Intel controller after updating all the drivers in Windows and build whatever type of RAID array you want using the Intel Matrix Storage Console.

Update 10/1/2009: More issues with JMicron controller and IDE drive.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Holly Crap! I have a PT6 V2. I tried to install Windows 7 RC onto a RAID 1 array controlled by Intel Matrix and got no where.

I updated to the latest BIOS, put the latest Intel Matrix drivers from the ASUS website onto a usb drive. I was able to CNTL-I into the Raid set up and create the RAID 1 array.

Then when I was asked to load a driver during the windows install, I did this as well. It acknowledged the Intel driver, but the install would not go any farther.

From what I had read somewhere else, Windows 7 simply doesn't yet work with the Intel Matrix driver just yet.

Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

I have my Windows 7 Beta installed on my Intel ICH10R SATA Raid0, however I can't get RC1 to install on it!??!

Greg Bray said...

Well... I just checked the drivers that I am using in device manager and here is the information:

JMicron JMB36X Controller (For ports 0 and 1 on PT6)
Release Date: 2/19/2009
Version: 1.17.47.11

Intel(R) ICH8R/ICH9R/ICH10R/DO SATA RAID Controller
Driver Version: 8.6.2.1012
Driver Released: 4/8/2009

You should be able to download the latest version of the Intel Storage Matrix Console (Version: 8.9.0.1015 is what I have installed) and get a copy of the drivers in C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\Intel Matrix Storage Manager\driver64 folder. I show the iaStor.INF as Version 8.9.0.1015 and Release Date: 04/10/2009, so they appear newer than the driver installed in device manager.

The only iastor file I can find in the windows folder is iastorv.inf, which lists Version 8.6.2.1012 and has an abstract of Abstract: "Windows* 7* INF File for Intel(R) Matrix Storage Manager Driver", so maybe there is a special driver for Windows 7 right now...

If the drivers from the Intel Storage Matrix Console don't work let me know and I will try and post the drivers from my device manager.

giz said...

Issue found after taking a nap:)
My MB
EVGA Classified.
Boot drive, Raid0 Connected to ICH10R
CDROM - IDE connected to JMicron 36x controller.

I thought (due to the cryptic "Device not found" message I recieved during pre-install)that the issue I was having with installing Windows 7 RC on my ICH10R Raid0 Boot set was due to Windows not recognizing the ICH10R. This was NOT the case. As a matter of fact, W7-RC detected the controller just fine off of the CD!

It seems that during Pre-install boot, Windows uses some sort of ultra compatible CDROM driver to copy a set of files to a ram drive (X) then loads those drivers for optimized CD read/HD write perfomance during installation. Well my CDROM is connected to my JMicron 36x raid controller.

For whatever reason, my BIOS setting on the JMicron was set to "RAID". I noticed that there was also a RAID + IDE setting. When I changed that, the message I was receiving went away, and boot/installation was VERY SEAMLESS!

Thanks for your comment, by the way, I was anonymous poster at 7:41 on May 13.

Matthew said...

I made a slightly different setup. A WD Raptor 10K 300 GB drive for the OS drive on the ICH10R controller and 2 WD 1 TB Cavier Black drives on the JMicron controller setup as RAID 1. New bios update and a fresh install of Vista 64 ultimate with the Intel SATA drivers was the key. Once those loaded correct, I was able to load the JMicron drivers from inside the OS. Then I was able to get the RAID setup to work.

Joe said...

I am running Win7 RC on an Asus P6T Deluxe and cannot seem to install the EZ Flash utility. The OS notes incompatability with Win7. I even attempted running as an admin in compat mode for Vista x64 SP2 - no go. How the hell did you install EZ Flash on Win7?

Greg Bray said...

Actually the EZ Flash 2 utility is built right into the BIOS, so you don't need to boot into Windows or use a custom boot disk to upgrade. Section 3.1.2 of the P6T Manual tells you to press ALT+F2 when rebooting the computer to load into EZ Flash, and then you can upgrade the BIOS using a flash drive.

jeff said...

ggg

jeff said...

I have almost an identical set-up and have experienced many of the problems mentioned in this thread, but eventually got things working.

ASUS P6T
INTEL Core i7 920 2.66G quad core
Windows 7 64bit
2 x 1T Samsung HD103SI drives
2 x 3G DDR3

Phase I: I started by plugging the drives into SATA port 5 and 6. These are the easy ones to use. I don't know why ASUS made all the others so hard to use and especially difficult to unplug!

During this phase, I updated the BIOS to 0603 and found that I needed to use the RAID driver off the ASUS setup disk. I used a USB drive for this and found that during Windows installation, just after it gets the driver off the USB drive, you need to remove the USB drive, otherwise Windows 7 fails to boot off the hard drive during the next automatic reboot and tries to install over and over and over again. It took me a couple times to realize this when I noticed that the BIOS Boot configuration could only handle 3 devices. The USB device plugged in seemed to push the hard drive off the list. So pull out the USB drive right after the drive screen in Windows.

Anyhow, had all sorts of problems during this phase, but finally got to the point where I was installing Windows fine, with the right drivers, but after about a day, the main RAID volume would get an error in the boot sequence. Things were still working on one drive, but no RAID. This went on for a few days as each iteration took a day before I would see it fail. I would try a tweak here and then with the same results.

Phase II: I forgot to mention one thing. During Windows installation I would partition the main volume into 4 to have some smaller drives since I was planning on putting some other OS’s on the machine. I tried again w/o partitioning the drive and it seemed to make a difference.

During the boot sequence the RAID volume would say initializing. Within Windows I downloaded and installed the Intel Matrix Storage Manager (could not find a version for Windows 7, but the Vista 64 seems to work ok). IMSM would say the volume was initializing and eventually got to 63% - after about 15 hours – but would not go beyond 63%. I tried it 3 times with exactly the same results. About 3 days.

At that point I sent a technical support case to ASUS. At the same time I tried moving the SATA plugs to 2 and 4, redid everything and then it seemed to work fine. Now in Windows it shows the two drives working side by side just fine on RAID1 just like I wanted.

Phase III: Now I plan to unplug the power from each drive and see if it will boot fine with the other, then plug-in both and see if gets back to normal.

Oh BTW, just received a response from ASUS. They say they do not support Windows 7. Go figure.

I will update things if Phase III fails. If you don’t hear from me, assume it worked ;-)

jeff said...

Well. After doing this I got back to the point where it would rebuild the raid and it fails each time at 63% again. ASUS told me to take the motherboard back to the retailer. They are not much help at all even though they have Windows 7 beta stuff all over their website.

I wonder if I need a different HD driver. I am getting the current one from the Windows CD and it is from MS v 6.1.71000.0. I thought all along I was getting it from the USB drive, that came from the ASUS setup disk, but it does not look like that really works.

Now sure what to try next except to try it with Vista 64 and maybe then ASUS will support me.

Anonymous said...

I knew going to 64 bit was going to cause probs with old software. Not being allowed to install the disk that came with ASUS PT6 Deluxe... That is a real kick in the face.

The 12 gigs of ram is all that is stopping me from going back to 32 bit.

On a different drive, will for sure install my XP Pro. That sucker works.

Anonymous said...

I cheated and had a PC built for me but it is ASUS P6T / i7 920 / 12GB RAM / 3 WD Black 1TB drives RAID 5 / Intel Matrix Storage Console 8.9.0.1023 / Windows 7 Ultimate
I get a maximum write speed of 4-5MBs but HD Tach puts the speed up around SCSI level. Bizarley, if I do two large copies at the same time the 4-5MBs is shared between the two processes.

I have read that there are problems with build 1023, have you tried this version yet? Have you tried RAID 5?

Anonymous said...

To the original OP, where are you getting your info from? SATA Ports 1 & 2 are not controlled by the JMicron Controller. The ICH10R controls ports 1 through to 6. The JMicron only controls ports E1 & E2.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I've got the exact same setup purchased on Feb 20, 2010. I Windows 7 Ultimate and the default BIOS which I think 0306(?). It all worked swimmingly from the get go ... RAID setup was easy on the mobo, and windows didn't require any drivers to pickup the array. So, I've got Win7 64 bit running on a 450GB RAID1 array as the boot disk. I am using ports 2 and 3 on the mobo.

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